Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of salt and water from the body, usually through excessive sweating.

It develops slowly and usually happens to people who aren’t used to hot, humid weather. People who are unwell are more likely to get it, especially if they are suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.

A dangerous and common cause of heat exhaustion is when the body produces more heat than it can cope with.

This can happen when someone takes a non-prescription drug, like ecstasy, which can stop the body from regulating its temperature properly. If someone gets hot and sweats a lot from dancing as well, they may get overheated and dehydrated, giving them heat exhaustion.

If treated quickly, someone suffering from heat exhaustion should start feeling better quickly. But if not treated, they could develop heatstroke which can lead to death.

Watch this instructional video for more information or continue reading below.

What to look for – Heat exhaustion

These are the six key things to look for:

  1. 1. Headache
  2. 2. Dizziness and confusion
  3. 3. Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  4. 4. Sweating with pale clammy skin
  5. 5. Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  6. 6. Fast, weakening pulse and shallow breathing

What you need to do – Heat exhaustion

• Help take them to a cool place and get them to lie down with their legs raised.

• Then give them lots of water. You can also give them a sports drink like Powerade or an oral re-hydration solution to help replace the salt and fluid they have lost by sweating.

• Keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response.

• Even if they recover quickly, suggest they see a doctor.

• If they seem to be getting worse, place them into the recovery position and call 911 for an ambulance.

Recovery position

• While waiting, keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response.

Source: St John Ambulance First Aid Reference Guide

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